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Serbo Journal

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Serbian president calls for early parliamentary

Serbian President Boris Tadic on Friday called for early parliamentary elections for January, a decision to influence the future status of its U.N.-controlled Kosovo province.

"I am announcing the decision to call elections for the parliament of the Republic of Serbia for Jan. 21, 2007," Tadic told a news conference.

Tadic said that he expected democratic forces, which will enable Serbia to join the European Union and NATO, to win the general elections.

The election date could influence the timing of a decision on the fate of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, where the Western powers are mulling the ethnic Albanian majority's demand for independence.

Talks over Kosovo's future status are proceeding under the auspices of the United Nations. Kosovo has been governed by the U.N. mission since 1999, when a 78-day NATO bombing campaign halted a crackdown by Serbian forces on Kosovo's separatist Albanian rebels.

U.N. special envoy Martti Ahtisaari said on Friday that he would postpone a decision on the future status of Kosovo until after the Serbian parliamentary elections. He also said that a decision on Kosovo would be made "without delay" after the elections.

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